10 Easy Ideas to Entertain Your Toddler
We’re all seeing the “so happy the kids are back in school” posts, but what if your child isn’t going to school quite yet and you’ve used up literally all of your activity ideas over the summer? Here are some fun and easy--I repeat, easy--activities for your littles still at home!
These are activities that we have done at our house multiple times because the fun doesn’t seem to wear out after just one minute. Something to remember is that if it is going to stress you out, don’t do it. Sometimes I see or hear about an activity that sounds super fun, but the thought of the clean up makes my stomach turn. So if any activity gives you anxiety, just don’t do it. There are a million activities out there to try, and your child won’t miss out on a wonderful childhood if you don’t like them playing with water in the house–I promise.
My daughter loved this activity, and I had a lot of fun with it too. The night before, I wrote out the alphabet decently big on two sheets of paper and taped them (with painters tape!!!!!) to the wall. Then I wrote one letter on its own sticky note and hid the sticky notes around our house. The next morning my daughter had to find the sticky notes and stick them to their match. We went over what each letter was called, and I’m proud to say she at least knows the letter “P” now.
You could also do this with numbers, shapes, colors, and animals. Heck, you could even teach them the names to your favorite football players this way just in time for the season.
Choose a simple dish to cook with your little one. They can help you pour in the ingredients, measure the right amounts, and taste test the final result.
We love to play chef in our house. Usually we just cook noodles, but my daughter loves filling up the pot, putting the noodles in, and tasting to see if they’re crunchy or “just right.” It’s wonderful for me too because I don’t have the mess that baking requires, and I am terrible at baking (whenever I try and make cookies, without fail I turn them into biscuits.), so I wouldn’t be teaching her the appropriate skills for it.
This one is fun to teach your child how to spell their name or other words. Let’s say their name is Abby. Find four cars. Write 'Abby' on paper and put each letter on its own car. Using a cardboard box, create four parking spots. Spell out 'Abby' with each letter in its own parking stall. Then gather toy cars. Have the cars park in their matching letter spot. To make it more fun/hard you could label a bunch of cars with different letters and hide them. Then your child will have to find the right letters to spell their name.
Sit Back and Relax
Bubble machines are basically heaven sent. I personally do not allow them on our laminate or tile floors because it makes a soapy mess and gets really slick, and I can’t handle the clean up. So it’s an outside or carpet activity for us. It's so simple to find a nice spot in the yard or porch, turn it on, and let your toddler have a field day. You can even turn on some music and have little bubble party.
This may sound super lame, but I’m not kidding you--my daughter could do this for hours. Get a bunch of different colored paper and hole punchers (different shaped ones are super fun) and let them have at it. Yes, you can sit back and relax while they hole punch away (but yes, it can be a mess. At least it isn’t paint everywhere and you can just vacuum it up.)
I don’t know why, but I remember thinking window clings and silly putty were like the coolest things on planet earth. So when my daughter first could understand window clings, I bought her a million and she called them “pretties.” You can get them for every holiday and let them decorate their window or mirror. I would even take off our wall mirror and she would peel and stick them for a pretty decent amount of time for a toddler.
Fast Food Play Place
Take your toddler to your local fast food restaurant and let them play in the indoor play place while you enjoy a meal or a drink. I had never experienced this magical activity as a parent until a few weeks ago because all the playgrounds had been closed. But if you’re feeling okay with the germs, I highly recommend it. I remember having so much fun in these as a kid! It was kind of a weekly thing for our family. Did I step in poop once in one? Yes. Did it ever deter me from continuing to have a blast in them? No way!
The best part of these as an adult is the lack of sheer drop offs! Some of the playgrounds we go to at parks were clearly made by adrenaline junkies who think toddlers need to be introduced to cliffs early in life. The fast food play places have none of these, so all you need to worry about is your toddler biting another toddler while you munch on some French fries.
Car Wash/Baby Bath
This is a good one when it starts to get too cold to play with water outside. Have your toddler gather up all their cars or babies and have them give them a bath! It’s fun to get things super sudsy, have different bowls with different temperatures of water and different dumping or mixing instruments. I have a cheap soap I keep for this so I don’t mind if she’s using a ton of it (or all of it).
I mean, what more do I need to say? Building forts are still fun, yes, even as an adult. I like to think I was an architect in another life. I mean, the artistic vision I have when coming up with these pillow-blanket homes is phenomenal. Your toddler will be thrilled with the little fort you build together and will love spending the day playing in it.
These are fun because the idea is it forces my daughter to watch something other than the Paw Patrol Movie (although we have watched it for multiple movie nights). We choose a new movie, make movie tickets together, make sure it's dark like a movie theater, and pop some popcorn. It's super simple and something the whole family can enjoy during the prep and the activity.
I hope you know that you aren’t alone on those long days where your creativity, energy, and positive attitude completely run out. Fingers crossed these ideas can help on one of those days, but help a girl out and please let us know what some of your fun and easy ideas are to entertain toddlers!!!!
For more parenting tips go to babycubby.com.